Qualified Therapeutic Riding Coach, Sandra Schmidt, is dedicating some of her free time to giving free carriage driving lessons to disabled people. Based in Bantry, Sandra has acquired a special wheelchair carriage on loan from the Riding for the Disabled Association Ireland (RDAI).
“In my work as a therapeutic riding coach, I see how an activity, particularly one that is outdoors, can help and empower someone with a disability.
“The gentle rocking motion in the carriage as you drive down a quiet country road is really relaxing for the person and being outdoors in a natural environment with natural noises and sensations eases stress levels.
“Sitting up straight and holding the reins is excellent for improving fine motor skills and co-ordination. Posture and balance is also enhanced. There is also a lot of brain work involved; you have to consider where you want to go and how to turn the horse,” explains Sandra.
“A person’s self-confidence and motivation to learn can be greatly benefitted by doing an activity like this in a safe and supportive environment.”
There will be four volunteers on hand for each riding session. Anyone interested in participating or in helping out can contact Sandra on 087 9389867.